MOCRA exhibitions: Thresholds: MOCRA at 20 - Part One

MOCRA celebrates a milestone anniversary with a two-part exhibition surveying works by artists displayed during MOCRA's first twenty years. Pictured below are installation views from the exhibitions of MOCRA's first decade.

Thresholds - Part One exhibition images

Thresholds - Part One exhibition logo


September 22 - December 15, 2013

free public opening reception   Sunday, September 22   2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Click here for directions and parking information for the opening reception.

View a slideshow of installation photos from the exhibition:

General Exhibition Information
Hours:  Tues - Sun, 11 am - 4 pm
Admission:  free, with suggested donation of $5/adults, $1/students and children

Traffic Alert mark

The Vandeventer Ave. exit from eastbound I-64/US40 is closed through Spring 2014.
The closure will affect some visitors to MOCRA. Please click here for more information.

Directions and Parking information
Group visit information

Thresholds - Part One exhibition images

About the exhibition

On February 14, 1993, the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA) opened as the world’s first interfaith museum of contemporary art. Housed in a spacious chapel that was used for over thirty-five years by Jesuits studying philosophy at Saint Louis University, MOCRA has mounted nearly fifty exhibitions and presented the work of more than two hundred artists who hail from across the globe and whose art represents a genuine engagement with the religious and spiritual dimensions. These artists come out of a variety of faith traditions, and in fact a number of them are unaffiliated with any particular path. What they hold in common is a desire to explore the spiritual and religious dimensions, employing traditional media and imagery as well as newer media and the visual vocabulary of our own day.

Part One of Thresholds: MOCRA at 20 embraces the variety of artistic expressions exhibited throughout MOCRA's history and includes works by forty-one artists from MOCRA's first decade. The artists hail from the U.S., Germany, and Australia, and work in media including painting, photography, drawing, sculpture, video, and more. Among the works on display will be Lewis deSoto’s massive 25-foot-long inflatable sculpture of the Paranirvana, or reclining Buddha (first shown at MOCRA in 2000); pieces by St. Louis metro area artists Edward Boccia, Jon Cournoyer, Sue Eisler, Steven Heilmer, and Tim Liddy, and a selection of works from MOCRA's groundbreaking 1994 exhibition Consecrations: The Spiritual in Art in the Time of AIDS.

Artists in the exhibition
Alvin Ailey
Seyed Alavi
Craig Antrim
Edward Boccia
Frederick J. Brown
Jon Cournoyer
Michael David
Lewis deSoto
Eleanor Dickinson
Don Eddy
Sue Eisler
Robert Farber
Nancy Fried
Ian Friend
Daniel Goldstein
Juan González
Donald Grant
Steven Heilmer
Tony Hooker
Carolyn Jones
Paddy Jungala
Tobi Kahn
Gerhard Knell
Robert Kostka
Tim Liddy
Stephen Luecking
J. W. Mahoney
Bernard Maisner
Ann McCoy
Anne Minich
Lyndsay Bird Mpetyane
Joseph Raffael
Georges Rouault
Susan Schwalb
Shahzia Sikander
Thomas Skomski
Manfred Stumpf
Kazuaki Tanahashi
Michael Tracy
Andy Warhol

Thresholds - Part One exhibition images

Terrence E. Dempsey, S.J., Founding Director of MOCRA, notes that the title of the exhibition points to a variety of meanings. "For many of the artists, their work explores the boundary, sometimes distinct, sometimes porous, between mundane experience and the transcendent. In turn, the artists invite viewers to share in that passage. A threshold is also a point of meeting, the doorway where we pass into another's experience or way of life. It represents hospitality but also risk. As an interfaith venture, MOCRA seeks to bring both artists and viewers to the threshold of other people's experiences, to encounter unfamiliar traditions and to share our own."

Thresholds also marks a point of transition for MOCRA. Fr. Dempsey describes it as "an opportunity, twenty years into the journey, to take stock of where we have been and to prognosticate a bit about where we might be going."

In his work Gitanjali, Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore writes,

I was not aware of the moment when I first crossed the threshold of this life.
What was the power that made me open out into this vast mystery like a bud in the forest at midnight? 

With gratitude to the many people who have made MOCRA possible and sustained us over the years, we invite audiences to visit MOCRA for the first time or the twentieth, and hope that, when they cross MOCRA's threshold, they will experience hospitality, wonder, insight, and renewal.


MOCRA thanks the artists, galleries, and private individuals who lent works to this exhibition.

Thresholds - Part One exhibition images

Additional links

Thresholds: MOCRA at 20 in the media

Read the Riverfront Times award for Best St. Louis Museum in 2013

Explore MOCRA's previous exhibitions

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